JA Inspire, With a Twist

Junior Achievement of the Eastern Shore (JAES) is working on its third annual JA Inspire event, which this year will be virtual.

JA Inspire is a one-of-a-kind career exploration event for students here on the Eastern Shore. Hundreds of local businesses from across the Shore will be ready to show students what a day in the life of someone with their job looks like, how students can get that job, and what students need to do for the duration of their school career to be successful in that job. JA Inspire will also feature Eastern Shore colleges, universities, apprenticeship programs, trade schools, and internships so once a student is “inspired” they can gather the information they need on how to achieve their goals.

The event will take place over several weeks in March and April to allow students and local job seekers ample time to absorb all of the information. Lisa Thornton, JAES’s Development Director, states, “We are super excited about JA Inspire being virtual this year. Last year we were able to reach 3,000 eighth grade students. With location not being a factor this year, even more students and businesses will be able to participate.”

In addition to 3,000 eighth graders, another 3,000 high school students will also participate in JA Inspire this year. The JAES staff has worked closely with school districts in Accomack, Caroline, Dorchester, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico, and Worcester counties to allow access to students across the Shore. The event is also going to be open to local job-seeking adults for the first time this year.

Lisa continued, “We are using a virtual conferencing platform that actually looks like a convention center when students enter the simulation. Local businesses will have the ability to provide students with tons of information regarding their business and their industry, all while being safe at home.”

JAES also believes that more local businesses will be able to get in on the action this year. Lisa adds, “Those smaller businesses that may not have the personnel to send to a two-day event, or the ability to close down for two-days now have the opportunity to be a part of this event. Our staff is preparing and training to assist businesses in the preparation of their virtual booths. We are helping our local businesses as much as possible to ensure that the transition to this platform is as seamless as possible.”

Those interested in learning more or participating in JA Inspire can learn more on the JAES website at www.juniorachievement.org/web/ja-easternshore/ja-inspire.

Junior Achievement of the Eastern Shore (JAES) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing possibility and powering potential for students, grades K-12, on the Eastern Shore. As the liaisons between business and education, the JAES staff immerses themselves in local business industries, identifies the needs of the marketplace, and develops an innovative, needs-based curriculum that is brought to life by volunteers in our community. JAES teaches concepts that equip and inspire students to live within their means, build wealth, identify fulfilling career pathways, prepare for the “new norm” of work, and explore entrepreneurial thinking that stimulates our local economy and employs our neighbors.

The interactive, fun approach and digestible curriculum helps students connect what they’re learning in school to real-life experiences; encourages students to stay in school and making life after graduation a possibility. With the help of a community of Game Changers, our programs are provided to our schools at no cost to ensure all students, no matter where they find themselves in life, have access to JA’s vital programming.

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Allison Rogers



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